As a historian of early America, my subject predates the invention of film or video, voice or music recording, or even photography. When I watch my modernist colleagues deliver multi-media lectures – including film clips, snatches of popular music or speeches, and photos – I feel a twinge of envy.
It is Moscow in the early 1960s. In this transitional period, when Stalin’s death opened up new possibilities for private life in Soviet society, we meet three young men and a young woman who can almost bring themselves to believe that they are entitled to a life that will be individually meaningful.
The HBO series Boardwalk Empire may currently be winning laurels for its workmanlike depiction of Prohibition-era gangsters and corrupt politicos, but viewers interested in a more fully-realized work about the Golden Age of American organized crime would be wise to turn to the Coen Brother’s 1990 masterpiece Miller’s Crossing.
The forces that created the Cuban Revolution often get lost in polarizing debates about Castro’s Cuba. Two very different films highlight the changes that ripped through Cuban society in the 1950s and early 1960s and created the Cuban Revolution.